Ireland v Wales

A win and Ireland are one game away from a Euro 2020 playoff spot, a loss and relegation beckons

Ruaidhrí Croke Tue, Oct 16
LIVE: Ireland v Wales

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  • 18:55

    Good evening and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of this crucial Nations League League B Group 4 encounter between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium. My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I will be with you for the evening as Martin O’Neill’s side look to break their competitive game winless streak which stretches back to the 1-0 win over this same Wales side in Cardiff 371 days go.

    You can get involved by using the ‘Contact Us’ button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke. Team news and build-up on the way!

  • 19:02

    So, this game is probably more important that the apathy around Ireland at the moment suggests.

    Get this: if Ireland win tonight then we will face a showdown with Denmark next month for the chance to top our mini group and therefore secure a place in a four-team playoff for Euro 2020. Essentially two wins in these next two games will leave Martin O’Neill’s side just two games away from the Euros.

    Now wouldn’t that guarantee of a playoff place take a nice bit of pressure off for the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign?

    If you’re still following, I have some team news.

    Ireland make two changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Denmark on Saturday with Callum Robinson and Aiden O’Brien replacing Callum O’Dowda and Shane Long. O’brien of course scored on his debut in the friendly draw with Poland last month and now gets his first competitive start in what is an experimental Ireland team that will have to show more attacking intent than they did on Saturday.

    For Wales the absences of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Ethan Ampadu will come as a relief to Ireland as Ryan Giggs makes five changes to the side that lost 4-1 to Spain with James Chester, Matthew Smith, David Brooks, Tom Lawrence and Tyler Roberts all coming in.

    REPUBLIC OF IRELAND : D Randolph; R Keogh (capt), S Duffy, K Long; M Doherty, C Christie, H Arter, J Hendrick, J McClean; C Robinson, A O’Brien.

    WALES: W Hennessey; C Roberts, J Chester, A Williams (capt), B Davies; M Smith, J Allen; H Wilson, H Brooks, T Lawrence; T Roberts.

  • 19:22

    So it looks like we have Cyrus Christie in the midfield again after his man of the match performance on Saturday - granted he had Ireland's one shot on target and did little else - with Matt Doherty again at wing-back.

    Christie said after Saturday's match that he hadn't played midfield since he was 14 years old and only found out he'd be playing there when the team got to the stadium so it's a positive, at least, that he's had a game in the position before today.

    Less than half a hour until kick-off now and the teams are warming up.

    You can read Emmet Malone's preview below.

    Martin O'Neill needs to rally the troops for Wales

  • 19:23
  • 19:37

    Kick off is ticking ever closer.

    Martin O'Neill has told Sky Sports he wants his team to be positive and attacking tonight. It's exactly what they weren't on Saturday.

    Will it change tonight?

  • 19:44

    The teams are on the pitch and the national anthems are done.

    Hold onto your hats, it's Nations League time!

  • 19:46
    1 min: We're underway in Lansdowne Road! (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 19:50
    4 mins: McClean is again in at left-wing back with Doherty in the same position on the far side. Wales have started with most of the possession in front of what is a sparsely populated stadium.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 19:52
    6 mins: Some nice work from Callum Robinson in the final third allowed him to twist away from a few challenges and feed Doherty in behind on the right. The Wolves man crossed low into the box but his effort was cut out.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 19:57

    10 mins: Chance for Ireland!

    After good work by McClean down the left wing to win a corner Wales regained possession. However, some lax play at the back from Matthew Smith on the edge of his box allowed Christie to steal in and shoot at goal. However, his effort was weak and Wayne Hennessey was able to scamper across his goal and push it out for a corner which came to nothing.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 20:03

    16 mins: That was a great chance for Christie and he really should have scored but it's been pretty positive for Ireland so far. They've got on the ball and passed it around relatively well with much of the danger coming down thr left through McClean.

    The first yellow card of the game has just gone to Kevin Long for a late tackle on David Brooks on the halfway line.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 20:08
    20 mins: Wales are getting into this a bit more now and have killed that bit of Ireland momentum. It's not the fastest and most exciting game of football we've ever seen, that's for sure.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 20:11
    25 mins: Some nice play down the left from Wales allows Ben Davies in behind. He gets to the byline and cuts on back but Duffy is there to clear.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 20:16
    29 mins: Wales are gaining just a little more control now. A poor pass from Hendrick in the midfield out to McClean is way overhit and runs out of play and the visitors can attack again.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 20:18
    31 mins: Callum Robinson has been the bright spark so far without a doubt. A few times now he has picked up the ball in areas of space and looked to create. A good ball out to Doherty on the right was misjudged by the Wolves man and runs out of play but there definitely are positive signs there for Ireland.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 20:21
    34 mins: Davies has created a few openings down the left for Wales so far. The latest came from a lovely flick to beat Christie and Doherty in one go. However, a slightly overhit touch as he cut inside allowed Arter to steal it and get fouled in the process, resulting in a yellow card for Davies.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 20:23

    36 mins: Chance for Wales!

    A quick, low ball into the box from Conor Roberts was a little behind Tyler Roberts but he managed to get in front of Duffy and flick a nice bakheel towards goal which was well saved by Randolph.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 20:24

    38 mins: A good run down the right from Doherty wins Ireland a corner.

    Duffy got up and met the header on the penalty spot as he so often does but his effort was easily saved by Randolph.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 20:28

    41 mins: Chance for Ireland!

    A lovely move down the left allowed McClean to flick it inside to O'Brien who, with his back to goal, passed it on to the onrushing Robinson for the shot. The Preston man took it first time on the volley and was unlucky to have his shot blocked down by Smith.

    That was good stuff from Ireland and a much quicker move than we have been seeing.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 20:29
  • 20:33
  • 20:38

    Well ... it's been better than Saturday anyway.

    In that I mean that Ireland have had a shot on target and look to be showing some sort of attacking intent.

    Christie really should have put the home side ahead but Ireland have at least had some intensity about them.  

    Wales have been poor and are probably there for the taking.

  • 20:49

    46 mins: We are back underway. Ireland have 45 minutes to save their chances of topping this Nations League B Group 4.  

    Strap yourself in.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 20:54

    49 mins: James McClean is booked for a very James McClean-like foul on Harry Wilson after the Welsh man had stormed through Ireland's midfield, beating Christie and Arter as he did so.

    McClean came across and hacked him down, earning himself a booking and a suspension for next month's final group game against Denmark.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 20:57
    53 mins: It's been a slow start to this second half with Wales probaly looking like the better team so far.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)
  • 21:00

    56 mins: Shane Long has been sprung off the bench by O'Neill to replace O'Brien. Let's hope he can improve the pace of this game at least.

    Chance coming up for Wales with a free-kick on the edge of the box after Arter brought down Conor Roberts.  (Ireland 0 Wales 0)

  • 21:02



  • 21:04

    61 mins: Well, what a goal that is.

    If you were watching Derby's League Cup win over Manchester United last month you'll remember the sensational free-kick scored by Harry Wilson.

    Well he has just done it again.

    From the right hand side of the box, with his left foot, the 21-year-old clipped a beauty into the far right top corner to give Wales the lead. Randolph could perhaps have done better as it was his side and it wasn't right in the corner but that is a superb free-kick.

    Seán Maguire has come on to replace Robinson for Ireland.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:09

    66 mins: Another good run down the right from Doherty earned Ireland another corner but McClean's ball into the box was cleared.

    Seconds later Doherty again got down the right and fed Hendrick in behind but his lobbed ball into the area was also cleared.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:11

    67 mins: Chance for Ireland!

    Again it was Doherty who got forward and again he found Hendrick, this time on the edge of the box. The midfidler jinked and twisted and created half a yard of space to shoot at goal but Hennessey saved well.  

    There has been a response from Ireland, at least. (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:17
    73 mins: Shane Long becomes the fourth man to be booked, seemingly for diving, after he went down under a challenge by Davies in the Wales box.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)
  • 21:20

    75 mins: Chance for Wales!

    A break down the left gave the visitors a three-on-two but it was poorly worked and Arter and McClean did brilliantly to get back and clear.

    From the corner Wales work it short, allowing Wilson to cross to the back post where Chester met it five yards out but somehow headed wide!

    That was an opener!  

    Scott Hogan is on to replace Kevin Long as Ireland go all-out attack. (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:22
    78 mins: Wales are doing all of the attacking now as Ireland begin to look ragged and they could well have put this game to bed by now. From 12 yards out Tyler Roberts fires over the bar.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)
  • 21:27

    83 mins: Chance for Ireland!

    Another good ball from McClean on the left was met by Maguire at the back post. He headed back across goal to Hogan but Maguire's fellow striker couldn't quite get the power needed and Hennessey saved easily.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:29
    85 mins: Another lung-busting run from McClean down the left wins Ireland a free kick in a decent position but Hendrick's cross is a shocker and Wales can clear. Chance wasted there.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)
  • 21:30

    87 mins: Shane Duffy has just tried his luck, while falling over, from about 30 yards.

    That's enough said about that.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:32
    89 mins: A long throw from Doherty on the right bounces into the Welsh box and causes mass confision but eventually Conor Roberts is able to clear.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)
  • 21:34

    90 mins: We have four minutes of added time.


  • 21:36

    90+2 mins: Chance for Ireland!

    A cross to the back post finds its way all the way to McClean who can stady himself and volley towards goal on his stronger left foot but he loses his balance at the vital moment and his effort is straight at the goalkeeper.  

    Ireland do now have a corner, however.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:37
    90+3 mins: McClean's delivery is gather by a completely unchallenged Hennessey.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)
  • 21:37

    90+4 mins: Another corner for Ireland.

    Last chance saloon.  (Ireland 0 Wales 1)

  • 21:39


    Ireland stand on the brink of relegation to League C of the Nations League. They now must beat Denmark next month to stay up and even that will only be enough if Wales beat Denmark three days earlier. A draw or a Danish win in that match and Ireland's final game will be a dead-rubber.

  • 21:47

    Nations League relegation beckons for Ireland barring a mini miracle and the general poor feeling around the team shows no signs of changing any time soon.

    Wales probably deserved their win in the end and Ireland never looked like creating enough. Robinson did look like a bright spark and taking him off was a strange one.

    With that I shall leave you. Thanks for reading, Emmet Malone's report and Keith Duggan's reaction will be online shortly and in the newspaper tomorrow, bye!